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How Will Hybrid Work Affect Office Space Planning?
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work. Employers are trying to find the perfect mix of what employees want and need in order to succeed in the roles, regardless of where they are. A solution that many businesses have begun using is a hybrid-office method. This allows a “best of both worlds” approach where employees can work both in the office and remotely during the week. It is now up to facilities managers to retool any former protocols to ensure they still work in this new environment.
At NFMT, Stormy Friday, president, The Friday Group will explore the practices associated with a hybrid work environment and how FM organizations can make the transition less stressful for everyone involved in her session Everything Old is New Again: Protocol Changes in the FM Work Environment.
FacilitiesNet: How is a hybrid office changing the way facilities managers operate? How are protocols changing now that the pandemic continues?
Friday: In many ways facilities managers must function as if they are just taking over an organization for the first time. Among other things, they need to make certain they establish ground rules and protocols for how staff will interact both in-person and remotely, how they will monitor progress on assignments for team and individual activities, how they will evaluate performance, and how they will promote the organization culture since staff won’t be co-located and interacting.
FN: What challenges do facilities managers face now that many offices are using a hybrid schedule? Are there any pros to this type of schedule?
Friday: Basic challenges of how to help staff stay motivated as well as how to assess growth, development and customer orientation are high on the list for FM managers. On the pro side to the hybrid schedule, many FM staff find they can be more productive without the constant in-office interruptions from colleagues and customers.
FN: How can facilities managers make the return back to the office less stressful for everyone involved?
Friday: The return back probably will not be a full throttle effort for a long time, if ever. One of the biggest complaints from staff is that people who return to their offices still don’t see or interact with others. They still feel isolated. FM managers must foster an environment where staff can share issues and successes, discuss problems, and have some non-work social interaction. This requires FM managers to take a stronger leadership position to guide both those working remotely and those who come into the office.
FN: What will NFMT attendees get out of your session?
Friday: A strong refresher on what makes an outstanding FM organization in the traditional work environment and how to apply these principles and protocols in the hybrid world. How leadership requirements for FM leaders need to be strengthened and how to formulate a plan of action. A discussion of the pitfalls FM managers need to watch for as signs the organization is unhealthy.
NFMT takes place March 29-31 in Baltimore. To learn more, please visit www.nfmt.com.
Mackenna Moralez is the assistant editor for facilitiesnet.com.